Have you figured out how to determine if a business is ready for a Director of Operations (DOO)?
We are talking about how to know when it’s time to sell your DOO services to your clients. Basically how to give yourself a boost, a new title, and potentially more income from your existing clients.
How to determine when a business is ready for a DOO
I’m going to walk you through a few things that I look for when I’m trying to determine what kind of help someone needs in their business.
Are they looking for a strategic partner? Are they willing to say “here is my vision” and what the strategy is for their vision?
For example, my vision is to have 500 certified DOOs by the year 2025. When I was ready for a strategic partner, I turned that vision over to my Director of Marketing, Esther. She came up with the strategies to achieve that goal. I did not want to take up more of my bandwidth, so I handed it all over to her, and she owns the strategy and the project management.
Does the business owner already have the strategy and just need someone to manage it? That’s ok, and it can be a comfortable place to enter a business, but you should ask several questions about their ability to bring someone into the business at a strategic level.
- Who creates the strategy?
- What is their strategic plan?
- Do they need someone to help them create the plan?
- Are they ready for someone to come in and help lead their team?
My method is to use the Strategic Mapping Model™ (part of the Director of Operations curriculum) to help them on a strategic level. If they aren’t ready for that, they may not be ready for a DOO. The best use of a DOO is when you can come in at the strategic level as well as the management level. You are not there to do the implementation.
A lot of leaders are tired from managing the talent on their teams, and many DOOs have that gift of leadership. You need to ask them if they are comfortable being the manager/leader. Are they ready to get rid of the management aspect and just do the leadership piece? If so, that would be a great time to bring in a DOO.
If they do not have an implementation team in place, then bringing in a DOO is putting the cart before the horse. You always want to make sure they have implementers and that you understand where their gaps are when it comes to the implementation side.
- What are the things that they are still doing in their business? Or what have they not relinquished control over?
- Example: weekly emails, social copy, graphics
- Who is project managing right now? Them or someone else on the team?
- Notice there might be some sensitivity if you come into a team and are taking over roles/responsibilities from another team member.
- How satisfied are they with their team?
- May want to rate on an A-F scale.
Understand what kind of revenue patterns the business has been experiencing. It’s likely they are looking for a DOO because their revenue has increased and they are now in a scaling phase. I want you to be very aware of what their revenue patterns look like. Is it reliable?
- What have their revenue patterns looked like over the last 4 quarters?
Explain that the answer will help you understand how much time and focus they will need from you in their business.
Are they ready to share financials with you? If a DOO is in a business and can’t get their hands on the financials, they will not be able to be a strategic partner in the business. Part of our role is to help optimize and contain costs but we cannot do that if we don’t have access to the financials.
- If you join their business as a strategic partner, are they comfortable sharing their profit and loss with you on a monthly basis so that you can help by making or approving the decisions?
Make them comfortable by stressing that they will have the last say. You aren’t taking over for them, you just want to make sure the business is growing and that they are seeing more and more profits increase as a result of your work together.
At the end of these questions, if you are feeling resistant, or if your instinct is telling you that this person isn’t ready, be honest with them. Use it as an opportunity to coach them, and explain why you aren’t a good fit or why they may not be ready for a DOO.
“If you don’t find yourself having a 2-way conversation at the beginning of an engagement, be prepared to go to the lowest common denominator… the implementation level.”
I know all of you have the ability to be a strategic partner in a business… it takes leadership, it takes resourcefulness, and it takes the ability to build deep relationships.
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